NASCAR has huge hole to fill after Earnhardt retires

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- There was a moment during the Bristol Motor Speedway race that captured the essence of Dale Earnhardt Jr. He was walking briskly to the care center for a mandatory health check after a crash. Flanked by a television reporter on one side, a handler on the other, he was explaining why he wrecked while hustling to his destination.

With Texas changes, 6-time winner not even a NASCAR favorite

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson has led more laps at Texas than any other NASCAR Cup Series driver, and won a record six times there. But all that was before the entire 1 1/2-mile track was repaved, and Turns 1 and 2 were reconfigured. "It's a clean sheet of paper. You can't pick a favorite right now," Johnson said Friday.